Rev. Catharine Is Currently
On Medical Leave

Persistent Gentleness for ALL The Bodies

Persistent Gentleness for ALL The Bodies

Remember, the 16th – THIS Thursday at 5:30 PM Pacific/8:30 Eastern is our fantastic hour-long free workshop, “Make A Hard Choice That Feels Right.” RSVP to join us to learn about the Qualities of Desire and the nature of discernment.

Friends, one gently updated from the archives – one that I think bears repeating in this time when some of us are frustrated at weight gain related to being at home to keep ourselves safe and well. Know that you are welcomed, loved, and celebrated here, whether you are having to work or having to be at home.

I read an article some time ago. It was from the Huffington Post, and it was called “Everything You Know about Obesity Is Wrong.” (…)

I am very nearly willing to get down on both my recently sprained knees and beg you to read it. It’s imperfect. It lacks some of what I might love to see in it. But it is SO important.

Just as I know that Unitarian Universalists and Pagans are well-represented among our comrades, so too, do I know that big, fat, round people are. A new spiritual direction seeker said to me this week, “It is such a relief to see someone who looks like me and like my spouse.” I know that my being visible online has brought more fat people into our circle than might otherwise be here.

We are ALL welcome here at The Way of the River. No matter our size, shape, or weight. Thin, fat, in-between, fit, in various states of dis/ability or health…

And because we are all welcome, I want those of you who are not fat to consider what you can do to make the lives of the fat people in your life, whether nearby or at the edges, easier. How can you be an ally?

You can make sure that there are big, armless chairs or benches in the places where you work. If you go into a waiting room where there are only smallish, chairs with arms, you might say something gentle to your provider. Perhaps, “Have you thought of having some other seating available in your waiting room? I know that my larger friends would have trouble with just that one kind of chair.”

You can consider, when making dinner dates with fat people, whether the chairs in the restaurant have arms or whether the booths have tables that move. You can do that labor so your fat friends don’t have to.

You can begin to decouple thinness from health. They are not the same thing. There are healthy fat people, unhealthy thin people, unhealthy fat people, healthy thin people… and ALL of us, no matter our health status or how it came to bedeserve the respect due all fellow humans of worth and dignity. No one owes you their health.

And say so. When people say they’re going on restrictive diets for their health, learn how to challenge that idea. Do some research. Learn out about Health at Every Size; become an ally.

Furthermore, fat people know we’re fat and that there are ways that makes our lives difficult. Please stop telling us, no matter how “worried” you are for our health.

And a final, oh-so-important admonition for all of us—especially those of us who spend time with children–please be kind to yourself about your own body. The number one indicator of the kinds of weight bias that lead to eating disorders in children is how their parents talk about themselves and other people where bodies are concerned.

Be kind, loves, be kind. Allies, fat people, everyone, be kind. My brother is fond of saying that he has never regretted being kind. Remember that you, too, are worth the freedom of kindness.

Be kind to you. You–you in the body you have now, whether it is considered an occasion for privilege or oppression–are worth kindness.

Even now, even today, when you didn’t wear, because you felt feel self-conscious about wearing them, sleeveless tops and shorts this summer.

You are worth kindness.

Even now, even today, when you know that you have already been unkind about yourself, your children, and other people.

You are worth kindness.

Even now, even today, when you remember bullying fat children or sitting idly as they were bullied. Or as you remember the bullying you endured (fat children are bullied more than any other group in schools). Especially when you remember these things. Especially when you need forgiveness or tenderness.

You are worth kindness, my loves.

PS – Don’t forget about Make A Hard Choice that Feels Right!! I’m really hoping to see you!

PPS – For those of you who’ve already met me, already know me, have already worked with me, go ahead and take a gander at the registration page for the full course, Making Hard Choices: The Art of Discernment. We’ll be starting up the first Monday in August, and it’s going to be great. This year, I’m also doing a modified Pay-from-the-Heart model, so it’s much more accessible. If you feel a wholehearted YES to this course, we’ll find a way to make it work for you.

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